In Gordon Ramsay's Lucky Cat, an 'Asian Eating House' embroiled in controversy

  
Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 months ago  •  43 comments

In Gordon Ramsay's Lucky Cat, an 'Asian Eating House' embroiled in controversy
Chef's new London eatery is the latest Asian restaurant owned by a non-Asian restaurateur to attract criticism.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


By Charles Lam

Chef Gordon Ramsay criticized a food writer last week who called a preview of his new restaurant, billed as an “Asian Eating House,” an “actual kitchen nightmare.” (That's a reference to one of his TV shows).

Among the observations that writer Angela Hui noted in her report on Ramsay’s Lucky Cat restaurant preview for Eater London was that she was the only East Asian person in the room of 30 to 40, and that the restaurant appeared to conflate Chinese and Japanese ingredients and flavors.

“Critics and reviewers have an important job to do, and it’s important that they are independent and have freedom of speech,” Ramsay wrote on Instagram. “However, the slew of derogatory and offensive social media posts that appeared on Angela Hui’s social channels, were not professional.”

Supporters of both Hui and Ramsay argued online, some defending Hui’s “lived experience of racism” and accusing Ramsay of bullying, while others criticized the writer’s characterization of Lucky Cat’s executive chef, Ben Orpwood.

Ramsay’s Lucky Cat has been included in larger criticism about approaches non-Asian chefs take when opening Asian restaurants. Commenting on Lucky Lee’s — a New York restaurant that offers what it called “clean” Chinese-American food  journalist Cathy Erway wrote on Twitter that “Lucky has become code for something awful,” referencing Lucky Lee’s, Lucky Cat, and Lucky Cricket — a restaurant from chef Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern apologized after early comments he made about Chinese-American restaurants were called “offensive.”

Lucky Cat is scheduled for a summer open in London, replacing Maze, another Ramsay restaurant that currently occupies Lucky Cat’s storefront. Among the dishes at the early April preview of Lucky Cat were a kingfish sashimi, a smoked duck breast with ahed plum and Japanese pear, and a “yuzucello” digestif liqueur, according to Hui.

Speaking to NBC News last year, New York University Prof. Krishnendu Ray, who studies food and immigration, said there are way chefs can open restaurants featuring cuisine of a different ethnicity, but that requires effort in understanding the roots and history of the cuisine and the cultural dynamics that enable the chef to open the restaurant.

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Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    3 months ago

My local bagel place is owned and operated by a Chinese man and he hires an almost full Latino staff. No one is offended. When are we going to stop being offended by everything?

Thoughts?

 
 
 
It Is ME
1.1  It Is ME  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 months ago
When are we going to stop being offended by everything?

I'll give it a century or so before it stops. jrSmiley_89_smiley_image.gif

It's really just got started.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 months ago
Thoughts?

Really only this one:

When are we going to stop being offended by everything?
 
 
 
Sparty On
1.3  Sparty On  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 months ago

I believe an old adage/poem applies here:

"You please some of the people all of the time

all of the people some of the time

but never all of the people, all of the time"

Show me a room full of people and someone in there is bound to be pissed off about something of insignificance to most of the others.

Its human nature.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.4  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 months ago

No better or worse than a Anglo owning and operating Mexican restraunt is it? Some people just have nothing better to complain about it seems.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
1.4.1  r.t..b...  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.4    3 months ago
No better or worse than a Anglo owning and operating Mexican restraunt is it?

As an Arizonan, did you ever stumble upon a Phoenix restaurant on W. Camelback in the early 80's called Fung Lum's?...Half Chinese menu and half Mexican fare. No great shakes, but an Asian family-owned joint with kids in playpens out in the dining room serving up the cheesiest enchilada combo in town for $3.95 a plate. Never ate the from other side. Closed up shop years ago...miss many of those mom & pop joints.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.4.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  r.t..b... @1.4.1    3 months ago

My late son was a professional chef who went to school at Scottsdale Culinary Institute's Le Cordon Bleu Program in 2005.  He worked briefly at different restraunts in Scottsdale during his internship and I seem to recall him mentioning that place because it was a unusual name

 
 
 
r.t..b...
1.4.3  r.t..b...  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.4.2    3 months ago

That may have been well before his tenure, but the dining scene in the desert is coming around thanks to the efforts of your son and his contemporaries...and, sorry for your loss, Ed...I didn't know. Peace.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.4.4  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  r.t..b... @1.4.3    3 months ago

My thanks. It will be 2 years on the 24th of this month. I lost his mother four months before him.

 
 
 
Kavika
1.4.5  Kavika   replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.4.4    3 months ago

I was unaware of the loss of your son, Doc. 

Waanakiwin niijii (peace my friend)

 
 
 
pat wilson
1.4.6  pat wilson  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.4.4    3 months ago

Sorry to hear this. That's an unbearable loss. 

 
 
 
Cerenkov
1.5  Cerenkov  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 months ago

Cultural appropriation is a made up, false liberal construct that ignores the reality of thousands of years of civilization. At best, it is the product of staggering ignorance. At worst, it is simple bigotry. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  JohnRussell    3 months ago

Slow day for NBC? 

This doesn't seem to be much of a story. 

The lady wrote a mostly negative review of his restaurant, but I didnt get the impression she was particularly incensed about cultural appropriation. It sounded more like she just isn't a fan of Gordon Ramsay.

Restaurant reviews are often quirky.  

I think the "political correctness" of this story was generated entirely on social media by others, and not in the restaurant review itself. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 months ago

Then why did she make part of her review this comment:

Among the observations that writer Angela Hui noted in her report on Ramsay’s Lucky Cat restaurant preview for Eater London was that she was the only East Asian person in the room of 30 to 40?
 
 
 
Cerenkov
2.1.1  Cerenkov  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1    3 months ago

That suggests she harbors some bigotry or a racial superiority complex.

 
 
 
pat wilson
2.1.2  pat wilson  replied to  Cerenkov @2.1.1    3 months ago

Have to agree with your comment.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
3  Buzz of the Orient    3 months ago

She complained that it mixed Chinese and Japanese dishes and flavours.  He didn't call it a Chinese restaurant, nor did he call it a Japanese Restaurant.  He could, IMO, have added Thai and Korean and Vietnamese dishes as well, because he called it an ASIAN restaurant.  The critic is a little picky, I would say.  Anyway, maybe he calls it the "Lucky Cat" because the cat doesn't end up being today's special.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    3 months ago

I actually have a favorite Asian fusion restaurant and I enjoy many different blended food restaurants like French/ Vietnamese. I think making something new is always interesting.... so long as there is no cat in it. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4  Buzz of the Orient    3 months ago

According to this critic, Julia Child would have been a fraud for writing the most popular cookbook in the world because it's about French cooking.

 
 
 
Kavika
5  Kavika     3 months ago

Asian encompasses a number of different countries, not just China and Japan....Time for the reviewer to take a break. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @5    3 months ago

I have to agree, Kavika. She has no culinary imagination. 

 
 
 
zuksam
6  zuksam    3 months ago

I don't care who makes the food as long as it tastes good. 25 tears ago my favorite restaurant closed it was a Chinese buffet but not like most Chinese buffets are now with their precooked frozen food this one had all their own recipe's made fresh. The Owner sent all his daughters to College and none of them wanted to work those long hours running the restaurant. I wish someone had taken over and kept the same menu and I wouldn't have cared what race or religion they were as long as I could still get my Golden Palace buffet on. As far as food they of course had Chinese but they also had Roast Beef, Family Style Chicken, Fried Chicken, Shells and Sauce, French Fries, and a bunch of other none Chinese Food.

 
 
 
Freefaller
7  Freefaller    3 months ago

Sounds like someone is overly sensitive. If a chef can cook a certain style of food then have at it, it doesn't matter what his/her heritage is.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
7.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Freefaller @7    3 months ago

I have to agree. Food is the international language. 

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
8  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    3 months ago

It's Ethnic appropriation. He should stick to white privilege food.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
8.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @8    3 months ago

Like haggis? 

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
8.1.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8.1    3 months ago

Having an adventurous appetite I have come to the conclusion that the world's most complex dishes with the most creativity and extensive cook times are Latin in nature.

European cuisine is boring.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
8.1.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @8.1.1    3 months ago

I do like French.. but I like most  other foods better. 

 
 
 
Freefaller
8.1.3  Freefaller  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8.1    3 months ago
Like haggis?

I've had that a couple of times it's pretty tasty, it just sounds horrible 

 
 
 
Sparty On
8.1.4  Sparty On  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8.1    3 months ago

I think the three of us need to start up a restaurant.   We can call it, Haggis and stuff.   We would serve Haggis of course but also other fine delicacies from around the world.   Ideas:

1 - Whole Sheepshead

2 - Balut

3 - Casu Marza

4 - Jellied Moose nose

5 - Rocky Mountain Oysters

Our customers can wash it all down with a nice Libation.   A Sour Toe Cocktail perhaps?

Yum, now thats a good start .....

 
 
 
Freefaller
8.1.5  Freefaller  replied to  Sparty On @8.1.4    3 months ago
A Sour Toe Cocktail perhaps?

Lol, had that once as well, up in Dawson City YK (woulda been in 1990 I believe)

 
 
 
Sparty On
8.1.6  Sparty On  replied to  Freefaller @8.1.5    3 months ago

Yuck ..... i've only heard of it.   Never had it.  

I have had two of the things on the list though.   Extra points if you can guess which two.

 
 
 
Freefaller
8.1.7  Freefaller  replied to  Sparty On @8.1.6    3 months ago
Yuck

Once you get over the visual there's no issue, all you really taste is the alcohol.

Extra points if you can guess which two.

Ok I'll take a shot, how about Sheepshead and Casu Marza (I have no idea what this is)

 
 
 
Sparty On
8.1.8  Sparty On  replied to  Freefaller @8.1.7    3 months ago
Casu Marza

It's Italian/Sardinian.   When someone told me about it i thought it was joke.   Then i googled it and found out it's the real deal.   Basically goat cheese that's rotten enough to have maggots growing in it ..... yummy!

I've had Balut (not as bad as it sounds but tough to get past what it is) and Rocky Mountain Oysters which are very good actually.   Taste kinda like venison.

So sorry, no extra credit for you.  jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
charger 383
9  charger 383    3 months ago

The name would turn me off from Asian food, Gordon Ramsey should be smarter than to have cat in the name. 

 
 
 
Enoch
10  Enoch    3 months ago

If its savory, nutritious and affordable, not seeing any down side to who prepares it. 

E.

P.S. In kosher cuisine, we call Haggis Kishka.

Major Yum.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
10.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Enoch @10    3 months ago

I love Kishka. Major Yum.. but you can feel your arteries clogging. 

 
 
 
Kavika
11  Kavika     3 months ago

If you want to dine on REAL American food you should try Native America and NA/Fusion foods. There are some great NA restaurants around the country. The last time I was in Phoenix I ate at the ''Kai''. 

They specialize in Pima and Maricopa native foods and it's located in the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chandler AZ. 

Reservations (pun) are recommended.

 
 
 
Freefaller
11.1  Freefaller  replied to  Kavika @11    3 months ago

Good idea other than some bannock years ago and of course wildmeats (btw seal is awful) I don't think I've ever tried NA cuisine

 
 
 
Kavika
12  Kavika     3 months ago
I don't think I've ever tried NA cuisine

Give yourself a treat Freefaller. I don't know where you live but give me an idea (general location) and I might know of some well worth your time/visit. 

If you've had bannock than I'll assume that you either live in Canada or visit there. True?

 
 
 
Freefaller
12.1  Freefaller  replied to  Kavika @12    3 months ago
I might know of some well worth your time/visit

Kavika thanks but no worries I already Googled it and the closest restaurant (it's called Native Delights) to me is 4hrs SW in Edmonton.  I'll try next time I get down that direction

True?

True I live up here

 
 
 
Kavika
12.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Freefaller @12.1    3 months ago

OK, let me know when you give it a go....

BTW, Vancouver has a number of great NA restaurants. Quite far from you but if you're ever that way.

 
 
 
Freefaller
12.1.2  Freefaller  replied to  Kavika @12.1.1    3 months ago

I'm sure it does have some great places but you're correct it's a bit far (2 day drive).

 
 
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